1. Using satellite images and deep learning to measure health and living standards in India. Social Indicators Research. 2023. Vol 167 No. 1, pp. 475-505. With Adel Daoud, Makkunda Sharma, Fredrik Johansson, Devdatt Dubhashi, Subhashis Banerjee, and Sourabh Paul. [Open Access]

  2. Audit threats and year-end spending by government agencies: Experimental evidence from Chile. Journal of Public Procurement. 2023. Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 100-124. With Eduardo Engel, Tomás Rau, and Andrea Repetto. [Journal] [Ungated Version].

Working Papers

Timing of reservations' allotment across courts' jurisdictions.

Who benefits from individual rights over indigenous lands? Evidence from the Mapuche

With Robert Heilmayr

Individual property rights can improve economic efficiency but may simultaneously expose marginalized groups to dispossession. This paper exploits spatial discontinuities in court congestion and novel data sources to quantify the long-term impacts of individual rights on the socioeconomic conditions of Mapuche reservations and their descendants.

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Forestry plantations and the demise of rural livelihoods

With Robert Heilmayr

As part of global targets to reforest the world, many developing countries have made ambitious commitments to rapidly expand the area of plantation forests. In many cases, these commitments have been motivated by a desire to encourage rural economic development and improve living standards for marginalized, rural communities. However, evidence of the economic impacts of plantation forests are scarce. This paper helps fill this gap by exploiting quasi-experimental variation underpinning the expansion of forestry plantations in Chile.

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Forestry plantation around indigenous community near Galvarino, Región de la Araucanía, Chile.

Representation of kinship structure of reservation at the time of forced settlement.

The persistence of social structure and status in indigenous reservations

Kinship systems have played a central role in defining individuals' positions within indigenous societies. This paper studies the evolution of the kinship system of Chile's Mapuche people since their forced settlement.

SSRN working paper

The rise of forest plantations in Chile's Mapuche's homeland: Four decades of land cover estimates from a CNN-RNN model and the Landsat program

This paper develops a CNN-RNN deep learning architecture that combines low resolution satellite imagery from the 1970s with modern contemporary satellite imagery to deliver state-of-the-art decadal land-cover maps for the core of Mapuche's ancestral territory. The results reveal that plantations sharply increased in the proximity of reservations since 1973. A large share has replaced native vegetation.

SSRN working paper

Evolution of land cover within five kilometers of reservations between 1973 and 2016.

Distribution and reparation of gas leaks in Boston & Cambridge and Entho-Racial (left) and Linguistic (right) diversity.

The diversity we breath: Community diversity and gas leak management

With Enrico Di Gregorio

Diversity in small-scale communities has been argued to difficult the management of common resources. We assess this hypothesis in the case of Boston and Cambridge regarding the reparation of gas leaks that degrade neighborhoods' amenities. Using geocoded data on 1,600 gas leaks in 2016 across these cities, we show that block groups displaying higher degrees of ethno-racial and linguistic fractionalization in the contemporaneous Census and American Community Survey enjoy a lower share of reparations of the local pool of leaks.

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Prompt payment enforcement on Framework Agreements

Demand aggregation through Framework Agreements (FAs) has emerged as a promising tool to save public resources but may fail to deliver lower prices if prompt payment is not enforced. This paper estimates the impacts of a reform that endowed the Chilean public agency that coordinates FAs for hospitals with a prompt payment enforcement procedure in 2014, allowing firms to suspend dispatches until overdue bills are paid. Hospitals that were more exposed to the reform---those that paid a larger share of their bills late---reduced their average payment days and their demand from FAs relative to hospitals that were less exposed. Prices of drugs that were demanded more intensively by late payers experienced larger reductions.

Working paper

"Don Barriga" asking "Don Ramon" for his rent.

Work in Progress

Estimates of PM2.5 in Chile from Van Donkelaar et al. (2016) .

The impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on children's academic performance: Evidence from a longitudinal study in Chile

With Raquel Jiménez

This project studies the impact of sustain exposure to PM2.5 by leveraging individual-level administrative data from a standarized test applied to all school-attending children in Chile several time throughout their lives and annual estimates of average concentrations of PM2.5 obtained from Van Donkelaar et al. (2016). This large administrative data provides statistical power to detect associations that are expected to be quantitative small, but relevant for human capital formation when considering that it affects the entire population. Individual longitudinal data allow us to explicitly take into account the sorting of children in schools in our statistical analysis, an improvement from previous studies that have used school-level longitudinal data.

Environmental varieties of capitalism

This project explores whether the different types of capitalism identified by the Varieties of Capitalism literature have systematic differences in their overall environmental impact, as measured by the Ecological Footprint Index of Consumption. It finds that the level of net public social expenditure as a fraction of GDP, and particularly the one that is not narrowly targeted toward workers, is significantly associated with lower environmental impacts for any given rate of economic growth in Western OECD countries. This result is consistent with the reported fact that Norther European countries, who have maintained the importance of universal benefits in their Welfare States, outperform other Western OECD countries.

Relative evolution of the impact of economic growth on the environmental footprint between four groups of countries: Liberal Market Economies (LME), Northern European (NOR), Southern European (STH), and Continental European (CME). The later is the baseline group.

Model's simulation of monthly expenditure throughout the fiscal year.

Procrastination, expiring budgets, and year-end expenditure spikes

The problem of year-end spikes in expenditure is well known, both in public and private organizations. The most common explanation argues that in organizations that operate with expiring budgets bureaucrats rush to spend any remaining resources before the closure of the annual budget to avoid future budget cuts and losing their agencies' monies. Although simple, this behavior is not easy to reconcile with bureaucrats being rational agents. If they know in advance that the budget will expire, why they wait until the end of the year to spend it? In this project I develop a theoretical model that offers an explanation to this puzzle. In the model, public servants are present-biased. When spending the budget throughout the year the public servant exerts a costly effort, which may only bring benefits to her at the end of the fiscal year when her performance is assessed. As a result, she procrastinate through the year and rushes to spend the monies before the closure of the budget to avoid a bad review. Given this behavior, expiring budgets are a sensible second-best solution; otherwise procrastination would extend beyond the fiscal year.

Project website